Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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Area Briefs | First presidential forum on the Navajo economy set for Twin Arrows


The Navajo entrepreneurship coalition, which comprises Navajo-led Change Labs, Dineh Chamber of Commerce, and ACES School, is hosting a forum on the Navajo economy for the 15 candidates for president on June 21.

The forum at Twin Arrows Casino is the culmination of “All Roads Lead to Chaco Canyon,” a one-day event for chapter leaders, Council delegates, Navajo business owners, and Navajo nonprofit leaders.

The event will feature panel discussions and seminars on critical economic issues, including the crippling business-site leasing process, the Navajo sales tax system, and the impact of tribal enterprises on the small business community.

The coalition used a grant to fund the event, said attorney Joseph Austin, Diné, “because all too often, decisions are made, and policies are created that work against the Navajo business sector.”

Austin provides legal support to Navajo small businesses. Austin, whose father is Supreme Court Justice Raymond Austin, is a co-founder of the ACES School, a nonprofit dedicated to educating Native leaders on nation-building and sovereignty.

Heather Fleming, Diné, executive director of Change Labs, said, “We incorporated a presidential forum into this year’s event because our Navajo economy was already in crisis before COVID-19 struck our communities.”

“The pandemic revealed how reliant we are on border towns and how little support local Navajo businesses receive from our elected leaders,” she said, “despite the fact that they likely create more jobs and provide more value to our communities than tribal enterprises and the Navajo government combined.”

Derrick Watchman, Diné, from the Dineh Chamber of Commerce, said, “This is an opportunity for Navajo leaders and Navajo voters to understand the laws that govern and sometimes stifle our economy.”


Northern Agency veterans host prez candidates’ forum

SHIPROCK – The Northern Agency Veterans’ Organization Inc. will host a Navajo Nation 2022 Presidential Candidates Forum at San Juan College in Farmington on June 3, from 4-7 p.m. This will be a free event, and everyone is welcome to attend, but VIP seating will be available for only Northern Agency veterans and their families on a “first-come, first-served” basis. All candidates for president are invited to attend. Candidates must RSVP by 5 p.m. on June 1.

Information: Vern Lee, 505-635-3249.


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